This is a guest post written by Maxim Narbrough, presenting the Arctic Design Week in Rovanemi, which will be held from 16th to 22nd of February 2015.
Check the Bio of the Author at the end of this post.
Arctic Design Week is the worlds northernmost design week, held this year for the 7th time on the Arctic Circle, in Finnish Lapland. Hosted by the town of Rovaniemi, the event is managed by Rovaniemi Regional Development Agency and the University of Lapland’s Art and Design faculty. It brings together creative industry players and a broad range of visitors from home and abroad.
This years theme, Transparency, explores the role of design in the creative development of the Arctic. The theme was chosen partly because of the obvious reference to the aesthetic properties of ice, as well as the idea of openness and responsibility.
Arctic Design Week is all about promoting and supporting culture, well-being and enterprise, with a sensitivity to the region’s unique challenges.
The main seminar highlights companies experienced in harnessing design to improve their commercial prospects, or those of their clients. The seminar and discussions aim to demystify design processes and make them more approachable for both companies and interested public.
Speakers will cover a colourful spectrum of topics
For example the story of Lastu, a brand of fine wooden mobile phone cases, manufactured by Finnish startup Droplet Hitech Design. Surya Vanka, Director of User Experience at Microsoft, will illuminate the growing importance of user experience in informing design processes. The cases aim to bolster the notion of design as an inclusive and open process, and that user participation is the best way to serve users needs.
Making design more tangible for business is one aspect of the event, but a more arctic experience can be enjoyed for example through the daily fireside talks, to be held in the courtyard separating the Arktikum and Pilke science centres. The main events will be hosted largely at these two centers, both of which offer excellent permanent exhibitions, well worth seeing if you are in town.
Other main features of the week include the numerous art and design focused exhibitions spread among the venues. Content ranges from textile design, clothing design, industrial design, service design, graphic design and photography. Many of the exhibitions will be flavoured by surrounding arctic influences, with much welcomed contrast provided by an exhibition from Shanghai’s Tongjin University, dealing with Urban changes.
The events are not focused only on the design community, but intended to ignite interest among the wider community. A new concept this year that serves this purpose is the Makers Lounge, taking place in Rovaniemi’s popular Revontuli shopping centre. The lounge showcases local creativity, be it in the form of handicrafts, ski-making or product design. Workshops and demos will happen throughout the week in the lounges’ relaxed atmosphere. The best part is that there will be hand-made icecream and freshly roasted coffee available, produced by local entrepreneurs.
If this isn’t enough to tickle your appetite, the ADW Lounge, held in the basement of the Pilke science center, will host a pop-up restauraunt. Brunches, lunches and dinners will be created by a couple of Rovaniemi’s top cooks. It’s worth booking early though as the limited spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A unique ambience will be created by Rovaniemi’s talented Dj’s and accompanying visuals. If you have never experienced a pop-up restaurant, this is a great opportunity to try it out. At the end of the week there will also be club nights at a couple of local venues, where you can enjoy dance music until the early hours.
Arctic Design Week is steadily growing to become one of the year’s highlights, constantly evolving and gathering a lively international audience of partcipants and visitors. It serves as an open platform for creative projects, and welcomes new ideas and collaborations. If you want to know more or to get involved, get in touch with the production team. Welcome to Arctic Design Week, home of Arctic design.
Maxim is a designer-maker who has lived and worked in Rovaniemi for much of the last ten years. His professional background ranges from electronic arts to machine design and product design. He currently works as designer and product developer for Treeform, the company he co-founded in Lapland. He is also one of the producers for this year’s Arctic Design Week. Maxim draws his inspiration from nature and spends any time he can spare exploring the Lappish wilderness, swimming in the rivers or surfing the hills on a snowboard.